SF Urban Forester Media Summary

We collect news and information relevant to the local urban forestry community.  In addition to posting the content below, we email it to anyone interested.  To receive these irregular (roughly twice monthly) email messages, just sign up here:

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San Francisco takes back its trees, to the relief of property owners
by Dominic Fracassa, SF Gate, July 1, 2017
Starting Saturday, the city will for the first time take full responsibility for the care and maintenance of the nearly 124,800 street trees in the city’s right of way, sweeping aside its unpopular practice of making property owners care for most of the trees. “The policy we used to have actually made no sense from so many different directions,” said Dan Flanagan, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the Urban Forest, which campaigned for Prop. E. (FULL STORY)

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SF takes over tree husbandry July 1st
by Mike and Sue, Mike & Sue blog, June 21, 2017
We’re going to go out on a limb to state that July 1, 2017, will go down in history as the resurrection day for San Francisco’s urban forest. That’s the day when San Francisco Public Works takes over responsibility for the care of all the street trees. It was clear that a funding strategy was needed. In stepped the nonprofit group, Friends of the Urban Forest, which lined up support on the Board of Supervisors to place Prop. E on the November 2016 ballot. (FULL STORY)

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Public Works Threatens Fines, Jail Time For Illegal Tree Removal
by Teresa Hammerl, Hoodline, June 20, 2017
Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru recently wrote on Twitter that there are “so many trees illegally cut” in San Francisco that he’s “about to start advocating for jail time.” We reached out to Nuru to learn more about how trees can be legally removed and how he plans to protect more than 124,000 street trees around the city. Thanks to the passage of Proposition E, these trees will revert to city control next month. (FULL STORY)

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Treequake: A seismic shift in San Francisco urban forestry
by Ellyn Shea, Deeproot blog, June 19, 2017
Starting July 1, 2017, the City of San Francisco will start doing something it hasn’t done since the 1970s: take responsibility for all the trees in the public right-of-way. Meanwhile, FUF continue to perform community tree plantings and young tree care – with some differences. “We’re not going to have to ‘sell’ the benefits of planting trees to property owners anymore,” FUF Program Director Karla Nagy told me, referring to the current model where homeowners have to agree to care for a tree for its natural life after planting. (FULL STORY)

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Love them or hate them, ficus trees lining city streets are dying from a new fungal disease
by Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, June 17, 2017
Tens of thousands of mature street trees in Southern California are susceptible to a new, deadly fungal strain that kills at alarming speeds and threatens to destroy the urban forest in older cities known for their tree-lined streets, scientists say. Branch die back disease caused by botryosphaeria fungus has already infected more than 25 percent of the region’s ficus trees, also know as Indian laurel-leaf fig, said Donald Hodel, researcher and horticultural advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles. (FULL STORY)

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SOMA alley leather walk takes shape
by Matthew S. Bajko, Bay Area Reporter, June 15, 2017
The $2 million alleyway project, officially known as the San Francisco South of Market Leather History Alley, has been nearly a decade in the making. Developer 4Terra Investments, which built the LSeven mixed-use housing project that fronts Ringold Alley, paid for the leather historical elements as part of the capital improvements it was required to fund. Thursday the Friends of the Urban Forest will be planting 19 street trees along the block: 11 Acer rubrum Armstrong, a Columnar Red Maple, three Arbutus Marina, a strawberry tree, and five Tristania laurina, a water gum native to Australia. (FULL STORY)

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Trees of Life
by Tom Molanphy, SF Weekly, June 14, 2017
On a fog-filled, June-gloom day, 20 or so people mill around on a Cole Valley sidewalk. These are volunteers for Friends of the Urban Forest, and they’re about to attempt what Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York’s Central Park, famously said would “not be wise nor safe to undertake” in San Francisco. They are about to plant trees. Prop. E covers the maintenance of the current forest but not the planting of new trees, so fundraisers by organizations like FUF, a nonprofit started in 1981 by concerned citizens in Noe Valley who thought San Francisco was not planting enough trees, are necessary to sustain the urban forest. (FULL STORY)

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Unpermitted removal of tree owned by city angers Noe Valley residents
by Bill Disbrow, SF Gate, June 12, 2017
Operators of a Noe Valley apartment complex could be on the hook for thousands after a cypress owned by the city was removed without a permit last week. The tree once towered over an apartment complex across the street from Douglass Playground. “The fine would be based on the assessed value of the tree. The fine could be $10,000 or more; our arborists are reviewing,” said Rachel Gordon of the San Francisco Department of Public Works. “The loss of this majestic tree is a black mark on our urban forestry.” (FULL STORY)

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City-owned Noe Valley tree chopped illegally, neighbors furious
by Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, June 9, 2017
Residents and neighbors of the apartment building at 610-660 Clipper Street woke up to a nasty shock Thursday, as the towering Juniper tree on the corner of Clipper and Douglass (right across the street from the Douglass Playground) was gone, leaving nothing but the melancholic smell of fresh sawdust. This unfortunate felling could turn into a big problem. The chopped tree was owned by the city. It was also allegedly one of the oldest and tallest public trees in Noe Valley. (FULL STORY)

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Researchers answer ‘how green are urban trees?’ question
AmericanHort Press Release, June 8, 2017
Trees are natural contenders to sequester carbon in efforts to mitigate climate change. However, carbon is released into the atmosphere during production and maintenance practices, such as planting, pruning, irrigation and even removal upon tree death. Pruning styles and frequency, for example, have a great impact on carbon emissions. Researchers led by Dr. Dewayne Ingram, University of Kentucky, set out to determine at what point urban trees sequester as much carbon as is emitted during maintenance practices over their lifespan. Another way to phrase this is: at what point do urban trees become carbon neutral? (FULL STORY)

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Restore our connection to nature in The City
by Debbie Raphael, San Francisco Examiner, June 5, 2017
Today is World Environment Day. Some may think San Francisco doesn’t have much nature to celebrate, but in fact, we are recognized as an urban biodiversity hotspot. In April of this year, a group of scientists proposed a new Global Deal for Nature, similar in scope to the Paris Climate Agreement, in which 50 percent of land would be conserved for nature through habitat protection and restoration. This bold vision is inspired by “Nature Needs Half,” a campaign promoted by the Wild Cities network, of which San Francisco is a founding member. (FULL STORY)

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Apple Park’s Tree Whisperer
by Steven Levy, Backchannel, June 1, 2017
At first glance, it might have seemed an unusual meeting between Steve Jobs and David Muffly. Jobs was a world-renowned technologist billionaire, and Muffly an itinerant arborist whose passion was the soil. But at this first meeting in 2010, Muffly learned that he and Steve Jobs shared a love of trees, and in particular a passion for the foliage native to the pre-Silicon Valley landscape, before big tech companies showed up and changed it. The encounter would lead to Muffly becoming the senior arborist at Apple, Inc., in charge of choosing, locating and planting the 9,000 trees that justify Apple’s choice to call its 175-acre campus a park – and in making Apple Park a leaf-and-blossom tribute to the CEO who designed it but would not live to see it built. Or planted. (FULL STORY)

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